Planning the supply of emergency medical products to cope with pandemics

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Source of Publication

IISE Annual Conference and Expo 2021

Publication Date



The COVID-19 pandemic exposed inadequate planning in the supply of emergency medical products (EMP) worldwide. In what followed, an exponential growth in EMP demand during the first months of the pandemic proved extremely challenging for manufacturers to adapt to. This put healthcare workers, our first line of defense, in jeopardy and stretched healthcare systems beyond their capacities. Many governments realized the deficiency of their emergency stockpile policies, and as global demand outstripped supply, they struggled to meet their population's basic EMP needs using offshore suppliers. In this work, we present a game theoretical approach for the planning of EMP supplies using a game that models the interaction between governments and private manufacturers to secure such critical supplies in the case of pandemics, while reducing the overall cost to taxpayers, and taking into consideration manufacturers profit objectives. On one hand, a policymaker can decide the strategic stockpile size for EMPs and use subsidies to encourage manufacturers to onshore some or all of their EMP manufacturing capacity to improve their domestic crisis management capabilities in case of a pandemic. On the other hand, private manufactures can evaluate offshoring cost savings compared to subsidies offered by the government on the condition of onshoring production of subsidized products and offering such items to the public at contracted pricing in pandemics. We detail the two models, present a solution to balance the competing objectives, and discuss insights from the model's analysis.



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Medicine and Health Sciences | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Critical products supply planning, Game theory, Government subsidies, Onshore/offshore decision modeling, Strategic stockpiles

Scopus ID


Indexed in Scopus


Open Access


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